“Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.”
We took Joy to the vet again this past week for an ultrasound and, taking advantage of her being sedated, also a lateral x-ray. The result? The usual good news and not-so-good news.
The good news is that whatever was obstructing Joy’s intestines is what finally passed on through Monday morning and what appeared to be fluid in her abdoment is proper groundhog fat padding. The not-so-good news is that her entire digestive tract is inflamed, as is also her pancreas; two lymph nodes are swollen and there’s an odd lump in her abdomen, right next to her colon.
One reference in the literature makes the statement that groundhogs in captivity are prone to bacterial infections, but they went no further than that. I suppose it makes sense that being blocked up would allow normal gut flora, both good and bad, to flourish and by hanging around, building up, thereby cause the inflammation and even explain lymph node and pancreas involvement. It’s that errant lump that is a bit of a worry but it could be just about anything, and many of those on the “anything” list are benign so we’ll simply start by treating the obvious problem first.
The means twice a day torture continues for Joy by being forced to ingest various medications; this time adding an antibiotic and a steroid anti-inflammatory to the mix. While she was quite displeased to be roused the first night from her favored sleeping spot after what was surely one of the worst days of her life solely to take her evening meds, at least tonight they stayed down. And staying down means they get into her system and help her feel better.
The rest of the week has been rather uneventful. Joy did throw up one more time, but we now believe it was because she was given her meds before she was fully awake. After she’s up for a short while, everything stays down and she is acting like her normal waddling little self again; even to the point of wanting to play and eating a little apple each day with no ill effects.
Now we simply carry on. And wait – optimistically, with fingers crossed.